The AAOPAC continues to host virtual events with members of Congress to provide an opportunity for AAO members to have personal, virtual meetings with members of Congress to keep them abreast of the views of the orthodontic specialty. Over the past 25 years, the AAOPAC has supported congressional candidates who support the orthodontic profession, whether it is easing the burden of student debt or supporting small businesses.
Over the past week, Dr. Gary Inman and Dr. Greg Inman participated in a virtual event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Sen. McConnell emphasized the importance of masks and social distancing, and he applauded dentists and their work to ensure both employees and patients are safe when receiving needed care. Furthermore, McConnell indicated that it is important that dental offices remain open as he believes they provide essential healthcare services. Leader McConnell also noted that any future federal stimulus package must provide liability protection for doctors, hospitals, dentists, and all health care workers, and that the Senate would not consider any bill without such protections. He also discussed the success of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and his hope that the PPP is replenished in the near future.
Participants asked if there are efforts underway to ensure that the supply chain for PPE is replenished and available should another outbreak occur. Leader McConnell favors developing domestic supply chains for a more reliable supply of PPE. While there most likely will not be legislation to address the supply chain, Leader McConnell indicated that this is a priority for many congressional and department leaders, such as the FDA and HHS.
Participants also asked if a modernization of the McCarran-Ferguson Act, a long-time priority for the ADA, AAO, and other dental groups, would be considered in the next relief package. If repealed it would allow insurance companies to cross state lines and become more competitive and ultimately lower insurance costs. Senator McConnell mentioned that it is unlikely anything will be done to modernize the McCarron-Ferguson Act this year, as the pandemic is the focus. However, he indicated that with additional cosponsors, the legislation could be likely be considered in the future.
The AAO federal advocacy efforts are made possible thanks to the generosity and support from members who contribute to the AAO Political Action Committee (AAOPAC). To contribute to the AAOPAC, you can click here. If you are interested in participating in a future AAOPAC virtual meeting opportunity, please contact AAOPAC Treasurer, Gianna Hartwig, at firstname.lastname@example.org.